April 19, 2006

Support for wind energy declines in statewide poll

According to the latest poll commissioned by big wind flak Renewable Energy Vermont (press release, Feb. 2, 2006), "The number of Vermonters who would like to see more wind energy in Vermont increased to 43%, up from 30% in a 2002 statewide poll." Not mentioned is that the result of this question in the 2004 edition of the poll was 42% for wind. That is, support for wind energy has not increased.

Another deceit in the release of this year's poll was to combine answers to the question about wind turbines on ridges (where the industrialists insist on placing them; also note there were no supportive questions to assess the respondent's knowledge of the technology and the issues). Whereas in the previous polls, four answers besides "other" and "don't know" were reported (beautiful, acceptable, unacceptable, and ugly), this time "acceptable" -- a rather neutral answer, and therefore consistently representing the vast majority, who aren't affected by proposed projects -- was combined with "beautiful."

The fact is, the "beautiful" response declined from 2002 (11%) to 2004 (8%), as did the "acceptable" response slightly (68% to 66%). Again, the latest results are compared with the 2002 results, but only as the combined "beautiful/acceptable": from 79% in 2002 to 81% in 2006 (ignoring the drop to 74% in 2004). Because the individual responses aren't reported, it is evident that "beautiful" continued to decline.

In all three editions of the poll, the more reasonably combined "unacceptable/ugly" responses remained consistent at 16%. In 2004, this was twice the "beautiful" response, and it is probably more in the 2006 results. Again, this poll shows that a favorable view of wind power on mountain ridges continues to decline.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, Vermont, environment, environmentalism